From high-school English teacher Ian Altman: Seven things teachers are sick of hearing from school reformers (The Washington Post). Move past the listicle title and you’ll find a deeply thoughtful response to school reformers. One choice passage:
Educators talk about and analyze test score data, and supposedly let that data “drive instruction,” but the truth is that numbers and measurements gleaned from those tests are not data.I wish I had had Mr. Altman for English.
They are a flat, bleached replacement of data, because they replace the substance of learning with an abstraction, a false image of learning, much the way Descartes replaced the idea of physical things with the concept of graphable spatial extension. The acts of thinking, learning, and knowing, are not objects that can be replaced with abstractions about thinking, learning, and knowing. In that specific but crucial sense, all school test data are fake.